Samsung Galaxy SmartTag vs SmartTag Plus: Ultimate Comparison (2024)

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Jason

Smarttag Vs Smarttag Plus

Deciding between the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and SmartTag Plus Bluetooth trackers? As Samsung’s flagship item finders, both help locate lost essentials like keys or wallets via your smartphone. But there are some notable differences to consider.

In this comprehensive SmartTag vs SmartTag Plus showdown, we’ll dive deep into the key factors to help you determine the optimal choice for your needs and budget.

As a technology journalist who has personally tested dozens of Bluetooth trackers, I’ll provide expert insights and hands-on knowledge to guide your decision. By the end, you’ll have a crystal clear understanding of how these Samsung trackers stack up.

Overview of Key Differences

Before getting into the nitty gritty, here’s a quick overview of the main differences between the standard SmartTag and upgraded SmartTag Plus:

  • Range: The Plus has a wider detection range thanks to ultra-wideband support. Its AR finder can pinpoint items within 15m.
  • Bluetooth: Both have the same 120m Bluetooth LE range, Find My Network integration, ringtone options and automation features.
  • Price: Expect to pay $10 more for the Plus model’s enhanced hardware. The regular SmartTag delivers strong value for basic tracking.
  • Battery life: UWB is a battery drain, so the Plus version requires more frequent battery swaps vs the 1-year life on the standard.
  • Compatibility: For UWB and AR, you need a newer Samsung Galaxy like the S21 or Note 20. The standard works with any BLE Galaxy device.

Now let’s unpack those core differences in greater depth to see if the SmartTag Plus upgrades are worthwhile for your situation. For an even deeper dive, check out our comprehensive Samsung SmartTag review.

Detection Range and Technology

The fundamental differences between the SmartTag and SmartTag Plus come down to detection range and underlying technology:

  • Bluetooth LE: Both leverage Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0 with an estimated 120m range in optimal conditions. This allows you to track items within regular Bluetooth proximity.
  • Ultra-Wideband: The Plus adds cutting-edge ultra-wideband radio for highly precise tracking. This powers the AR Finder for locating items within a 15m radius.
  • Find My Network: If tagged items go out of Bluetooth range, both trackers tap into Samsung’s nationwide crowd network to locate them based on pings from other Galaxy devices.

For the majority of users, the generous 120m Bluetooth range on either SmartTag will cover most needs for keeping tabs on everyday items around the home or workplace.

However, the ultra-wideband capabilities of the Plus model enable next-level precision if items go missing further away or you require exact AR-powered locating. This proves invaluable if you’re prone to misplacing valuables in public settings too.

Tracking and Finding Features

To hunt down missing items, the SmartTag and SmartTag Plus provide a similar set of core tracking features:

Samsung Smarttag Smartthings App
  • SmartThings app: View item locations on a map, trigger the tag to ring, customize alert sounds.
  • Ringtones: Prompt the tag to buzz, flash and blare a 90dB+ sound. Pick from 8 preset tones.
  • Last seen: Check the last known location on a map if an item ventures out of Bluetooth range.
  • Notification log: Review past alerts about when and where the tag was detected by your device.
  • AR Finder (Plus only): Get an augmented reality overlay with directional guidance to pinpoint an item’s precise spot within a 15m zone.
  • Crowd GPS: When beyond Bluetooth range, leverage Samsung’s nationwide crowd network to locate tags via pings from other Galaxy devices.

While both SmartTags check the essential boxes for reliably finding absent-minded items, the AR Finder on the Plus model is a major differentiator. It’s a game-changer for zeroing in on exact locations, especially if the missing item is obscured or hard to spot.

Design, Durability and Customization

Aesthetically, the SmartTag and SmartTag Plus are nearly identical twin trackers:

  • Size: The Plus is a smidge larger at 46 x 46 x 10.5mm vs the 39 x 39 x 9.8mm dimensions of the standard.
  • Colors: Both come in classic black, plus one alternate hue (Oatmeal on the regular, Denim Blue on the Plus).
  • Build: Lightweight plastic construction with an integrated keychain loop. IP53-rated for dust and water resistance.
  • Battery: User-replaceable CR2032 coin cell batteries. The standard lasts around 1 year, while the Plus manages about 6 months.
  • Personalization: Customize the ringtones, notification sounds and button controls through the SmartThings app.

Owing to their discreet, durable designs, both trackers are impervious to dust and moisture when attached to keychains, zippers, pet collars and more.

Smarttag Battery Life

The Plus is fractionally larger to accommodate the added UWB antenna and deliver boosted performance. But it’s a barely perceptible difference visually.

If you’re looking for a stylish way to carry your SmartTag, be sure to browse our picks for the best SmartTag wallets to keep your tracker and cards organized.

Ecosystem Integration

A major perk of Samsung’s first-party trackers is their deep integration with the Galaxy ecosystem:

Smarttag Programmable Smart Button
  • Smart home control: Program the SmartTag button as a remote control to trigger routines like turning on lights or arming cameras with a click.
  • Smartphones: Seamlessly track items and receive alerts via the SmartThings Find app on any compatible Galaxy handset.
  • Smartwatches: Get last known location updates and notifications delivered straight to your Galaxy Watch.
  • Family sharing: Share access to SmartTags with family members to enable collaborative tracking.
  • Scene activation: Configure SmartTags to activate saved scenes like ‘Bedtime’ or ‘Movie Night’ when tapped.

This positions the SmartTag lineup as the premier pick for Samsung-centric households. The locating and automation possibilities expand significantly when paired with other SmartThings devices.

As a self-proclaimed smart home enthusiast, I’ve found the ability to tie SmartTags into my automated routines incredibly convenient. Clicking my keychain tag to disarm my security system and turn on the lights when I get home never gets old.

Privacy and Security

Recognizing the sensitivity of location data, Samsung baked several privacy safeguards into the SmartTag and SmartTag Plus:

  • Encryption: Tag location data is encrypted end-to-end and only stored temporarily on Samsung’s fortified AWS servers.
  • Randomization: SmartTags employ randomized device IDs that refresh every 15 minutes for added anonymity.
  • User control: Only the registered owner of the SmartTag can view its location and manage settings.
  • Lock mode: Quickly tap a tag 3 times to put it into a locked privacy mode until re-enabled.
  • Guest access: Owners can selectively grant temporary tracking access to guests as needed.

With this multi-pronged approach, users can rest assured that their item tracking activities won’t be intercepted or misused by unwanted parties. Privacy is clearly top of mind in Samsung’s design.

Do You Need the SmartTag Plus?

Now that we’ve thoroughly examined the key differences, you may be wondering – is it worth splurging on the Plus or sticking with the standard SmartTag? Here’s my take:

Spring for the SmartTag Plus if you:

  • Desire ultra-precise finding via AR instead of just ballpark proximity
  • Often misplace vital items like wallets or passports in public places
  • Own a premium Samsung device that supports UWB like a Galaxy S21
  • Don’t mind more frequent battery changes

The regular SmartTag is sufficient if you:

  • Mainly want to casually track things within regular Bluetooth range at home
  • Don’t need the pinpoint accuracy and AR magic of UWB
  • Prefer to save a few bucks on a still highly capable tracker
  • Value maximum battery life

Unless you have a specific need for the bleeding-edge precision of the Plus, the standard SmartTag will capably handle the tracking needs of most users quite handily. I’d only recommend the Plus if you’re a chronic loser of important items or an early adopter who demands the latest and greatest.

Tips for Using Samsung SmartTags

To squeeze the most value out of your SmartTag or SmartTag Plus, consider these expert tips compiled from my extensive testing:

Smarttag+ Ar
  • Register each tag within the SmartThings app for an added layer of security
  • Leverage SmartThings automations to trigger lights, routines, cameras and more with the click of your tag
  • Use accessory cases, adhesives, or lanyards to attach tags to keys, bags, remotes and other commonly misplaced items
  • Replace the batteries every 6-12 months to ensure uninterrupted tracking performance
  • Grant family members temporary SmartTag access when traveling together to enable collaborative finding
  • Personalize the ringtones so they stand out from other notifications when activated

If you encounter any issues, our guide on troubleshooting Samsung SmartTag problems has you covered with solutions for common hiccups.

Frequently Asked Questions

To round out this in-depth comparison, let’s tackle some of the most common questions I hear about Samsung’s SmartTags:

How do SmartTags compare to rival trackers like Tile, Chipolo or Apple AirTag? SmartTags are purpose-built for the Samsung ecosystem, while trackers from Tile and Chipolo are more platform-agnostic. Apple’s AirTags are comparable to SmartTags but locked to the iOS walled garden. See our comparison guides for more details on how SmartTags stack up to the competition.

Can I use SmartTags to keep tabs on my kids or pets? Samsung explicitly advises against attaching SmartTags to people, pets or vehicles for tracking. They are intended for locating inanimate personal belongings only. For monitoring furry friends, consider a dedicated GPS pet tracker.

Which Galaxy phones and tablets work with SmartTags? All recent Samsung devices running Android 8 or newer will play nice with SmartTags. However, you’ll need an ultra-premium model like a Galaxy S21 or Z Fold to enjoy the UWB benefits exclusive to the Plus tracker.

How can I find an item if it’s far away or no longer online? The Galaxy Find Network crowdsources the location of tags by pinging other Samsung devices in the vicinity. You can also review a lost item’s last known whereabouts on a map for clues.

Do SmartTags function with iOS or other brands? Unfortunately, SmartTags are incompatible with iOS, Pixel and other mobile platforms. They rely on proprietary Samsung tech, so you’re out of luck unless wielding a Galaxy.

Key Takeaways

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this SmartTag deep dive. But here are the key points to remember:

  • The SmartTag Plus justifies its higher cost with expanded range, UWB precision and nifty AR tracking
  • But the standard SmartTag is no slouch, with robust finding features for a lower price
  • SmartTags are tailor-made for the Samsung ecosystem, with tight integration and automation perks
  • You’ll get the most mileage from the Plus model when paired with a premium UWB-ready Galaxy device
  • Privacy nuts can rest easy thanks to Samsung’s multi-layered encryption and security protocols

Final Verdict

All things considered, both the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and souped-up SmartTag Plus are highly capable Bluetooth trackers for absent-minded Galaxy groupies.

The Plus model earns its higher price tag with greater range, accuracy and AR-enhanced finding. But the garden-variety SmartTag still over-delivers for basic household tracking on a budget.

Unless you absolutely need UWB’s pinpoint precision, the standard SmartTag will dutifully handle your tracking needs without breaking the bank. It’s a reliable choice that I personally recommend to my friends and family.

Whichever you choose, you’ll gain some welcome peace of mind. Never again will you tear the house apart hunting for missing keys.

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